Gold and silver would have been sweeter, but bronze still has a nice ring to it for the BC Royals.
In Prince Edward Island last weekend, the team competed against top athletes from clubs across Canada in the 2019 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League national championships, coming up successful in their medal hunt in the final game against their opponents from Saskatchewan.
Aidan Love, Victoria resident and a player for the Royals, noted the team got better as they progressed throughout the weekend. However, a tough loss in the round robin stage against an experienced club from Quebec team pushed Royals to play the semi finals bracket against the Gladiateurs, a Quebecois team they had faced in the finals in 2017 and 2018, which resulted in a silver medal each time.
“As a team, we played extremely well in the semi finals and just weren’t able to kind of put it together for the full 40 minutes,” Love said of their most recent encounter.
His teammate and former Victoria local Deion Green said game against the reigning champions was tough but “arguably our best game,” and the tournament itself is a personal highlight every time he returns.
“It’s just probably one of the most fun Canadian-run tournaments I still go to. I always get to see a bunch of people that I grew up playing with that I don’t see too often anymore,” he said. Both Green, aged 29, and Love, 27, have played in the championship games for the past three years in a row.
The reason Green keeps coming is the camaraderie and a love for the sport, he said.
“Each game or battle, whatever you want to call it, [is] with your brothers. You’ll have the same jersey on, you’re all representing the same thing. We’ve all put hours in together towards a common goal.”
Green is currently living in Toronto, where he trains with other team Canada hopefuls, trying to earn himself a spot on the squad for a pair Pan Am games at Lima in August. Coming within the top three teams will have them qualify for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year. His mom, dad, younger brother and “tons of” aunts, uncles and cousins all live in Victoria.
When Green is not playing basketball, he spends a lot of time with his girlfriend Molly and their 17-month-old son Elias, he said.
Love, who admits to being “highly competitive,” said he loves watching sports, and also recreationally plays tennis and golf. He is driven to train in wheelchair basketball to prove to himself that he’s able to compete with the top athletes in Canada, he added.
“It kind of keeps me going.”